Giving Increases At Slowest Rate This Year

Charitable giving grew 2.3 percent for the three months ending October 2013 and online giving grew almost 10 percent, compared with the same period in 2012.

The Blackbaud Index, compiled by Charleston, S.C.-based software and fundraising firm Blackbaud, Inc., is based on data from nearly 4,000 charities that collectively raised more than $12 billion during the prior 12 months.

The 2.3-percent overall growth and 9.9-percent growth in online giving are the lowest monthly estimates so far for 2013. Previously, the lowest figures were 2.6 percent growth in April and 10 percent online growth in March, according to the Blackbaud Index. Data are based on a three-month rolling average of year-over-year performance.

For the first time, it includes an index to track fundraising for congregations and other faith-based organizations. There are plans to add a specialty index next year for higher education. The faith-based index brings to nine the number of specialties indices, including arts and culture, environment and animal welfare, healthcare, human services, international affairs, K-12 education, medical research, public and society benefit.

Fundraising for 334 churches, synagogues, and other faith-based organizations representing almost $1.2 billion in annual revenue grew 3.5 percent during the three months ending October 2013, compared with the same period in 2012. Online giving grew 16.7 percent at 202 congregations and other groups that raised more than $110 million over 12 months.

The online giving growth was by far the highest among the nine indexes, followed by environment and animal welfare, 10.9 percent, K-12 education, 10.8 percent, and international affairs, 8.9 percent. Only medical research saw a decline in online giving, down 1.3 percent, while public and society benefit was barely on the plus side, up 0.4 percent.

As for overall giving, international affairs was far ahead of other indices, up 17 percent, followed by medical research, 10.7 percent, and environment and animal welfare, 6.5 percent. Only three subsectors saw a decline for the period: human services, down 4.7 percent; arts and culture, down 4.1 percent, and public and society benefit, down 1 percent.

Small organizations (less than $1 million) jumped 7 percent overall and nearly 15 percent in online giving, compared with 2.1 percent and 7.7 percent for large organizations ($10 million or more), and medium organizations, down 0.4 percent overall but nearly 11 percent in online.